Rail bike company strikes deal to use tracks north of North Creek
JOHNSBURG — The operators of a rail bike company who had been told they could not operate on a rail line north of North Creek this year have reached an agreement to continue to use the line.
Revolution Rail Co. and Iowa Pacific Holdings have come to an agreement to stay litigation that was filed amid a contract dispute, which will allow rail bikes to operate north of North River starting May 11.
Michael Dupee, one of Revolution Rail’s co-founders, said the two sides discussed the situation, and in light of Iowa Pacific not finalizing a sale of the line, it was agreed the rail bikes would ride again.
“We’re good,” he said late last week. “We reached an agreement for the 2019 season and will start on Mother’s Day weekend.”
The rail bike trips, which allow riders to pedal four-wheeled “bikes” on the tracks along and over the Hudson River Gorge, have drawn thousands of riders during the company’s first two years.
But Iowa Pacific terminated Revolution Rail’s contract last fall, claiming its insurance coverage was not sufficient. That termination came as Iowa Pacific negotiated to sell the rail line between North Creek and the former mines in Tahawus.
Revolution Rail filed a lawsuit last December challenging that claim and showing a $2 million insurance policy as required by Iowa Pacific. That lawsuit was initially filed in state Supreme Court in Warren County, but later re-filed in Saratoga County.
Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis did not respond to an inquiry for comment Monday.
Revolution Rail operates from an office at the North Creek train depot, which is owned by Warren County.
But the tracks on which customers ride are owned by Iowa Pacific, which operated Saratoga & North Creek Railway for more than six years before shutting down last spring amid financial issues.
Iowa Pacific has been negotiating to sell the rail line, which runs to the former NL Industries titanium mines in Tahawus.
A spokesman for the company with which Iowa Pacific has been negotiating, OmniTRAX Inc. of Colorado, said that the proposed sale is still being discussed. But the company is discussing its options with Iowa Pacific, Warren County and the town of Corinth, as the municipalities own stretches of rails between the main line in Saratoga Springs and North Creek.
“It doesn’t make sense to have an agreement with one of them without the other two,” spokesman Ron Margulis said.
He said it was hoped there would be progress in the “next couple of months.”
Warren County supervisors are weighing several proposals for the county’s portion of the rails, which runs from Hadley to North Creek.